How to boost your PC performance
If you’ve taken all the steps listed in this article but need to push your PC’s performance to the absolute maximum, here are a few extra measures to consider taking.
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Adjust power options
Many computers – especially laptops and netbooks – are configured to reduce their performance in order to save on power consumption and lengthen battery time. However, if your laptop is plugged into the mains or you’re not worried about battery life, try adjusting its power options to enjoy a power boost.
To do this, click Start > Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Power Options. A window will appear titled ‘Select a power plan’, and listing several power plans. Click the down arrow next to the text ‘Show additional plans’. Click the High performance option. This will give you the maximum speed from your computer, though your laptop battery will drain faster if you’re not plugged into the mains.
Add more memory
Adding extra memory (RAM) will dramatically improve your computer’s performance. The website www.crucial.com is a handy way to find out the type and amount of memory that you can fit into your PC. Fitting extra RAM isn’t too tricky. Alternatively, many high-street computer stores provide this service.
Go faster with ReadyBoost
A quick way to get a speed boost is to use a USB memory drive, which adds extra memory to your computer in a similar way to adding more RAM. The drive must be larger than 256MB and conform to Windows data read/write speed requirements.
Plug it in and select the Speed up my system option from the AutoRun menu. Windows checks the drive and, if it’s suitable, you’ll see a ReadyBoost dialog box. Tick the Dedicate this device to ReadyBoost box or select Use this device and adjust the slider to select how much free space you want to assign to ReadyBoost. The remaining space can be used for storage as normal. Click OK to finish.
Set Windows services to manual
With Windows 7, there are lots of services and processes that run in the background, providing support to other programs. By default, many are set to automatically run as soon as Windows starts up, meaning they’re continually using processor power and memory. However, you can change this setting to manual so a service will only start when Windows or another program actually needs it.
You also have the option to disable a service so that it never runs. This is best avoided unless you’re certain that you’ll never need it. Disabling a service that your computer needs can cause system errors.
Click Start. In the search box type ‘services‘ and press Enter. Click Services from the results list. In the Services window, right-click a service then select Properties. In the Startup type, set the service to Manual. Once done, you can close the window.
Install a solid-state drive
A sure-fire way to boost your PC’s performance is to swap the hard drive for a solid-state drive (SSD). Unlike standard hard drives, solid state drives have no moving parts, which helps produce blisteringly fast start-up times and performance. However, they’re much more expensive than hard drives and offer smaller storage capacities.
Update your operating system
Using an older version of the Windows operating system can slow down your computer substantially. If you’re still using Windows XP or Windows Vista, it may be time to upgrade.
Remember to check the minimum system requirements for whichever version you’re considering upgrading to, and bear in mind that to get the best performance your hardware usually needs to match the Recommended System – or better – requirements.